Friday, October 26, 2012

My Great Uncle Joe

My great uncle Joe Cannon went home to heaven yesterday. He lived a long, good life. He meant a lot to a multitude of people around the world. He served as a missionary to many countries for the entirety of his adult life. To many he was a hero of faith for our time. And I believe he was.

However, this man was something more for me... 

Without Joe Cannon, I don't know if there would be a Cheree Voyles Moore.

You see, when a young, foolhardy Canadian grew up and went to Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas and married a quiet girl from Oklahoma, it set a chain of events in place that allowed my parents to meet.

In 1947, this young man and his bride boarded a ship for their honeymoon that was bound for Japan to become missionaries. In 1971, Joe and Rosabelle moved their work to Papua New Guinea {PNG}. This primitive country was in need of more missionaries so Joe went back to North America to recruit.

In Canada, he sat down with Ray and Elizabeth Lock. They were considering moving their family to Africa. Joe talked to them about PNG. Their daughter, Lois Lock {Voyles} was in Switzerland for the summer. She came home and heard of the plans about PNG and told her parents, "We need to go there, and if you don't go, then I will."

So the Lock family packed up and moved to Papua New Guinea.

On the other side of the world a young, single missionary in Africa was getting lonely. Most of the other missionaries were married and single life was taking its toll on Larry Voyles. He decided to pack up for home and not come back unless he had a wife. His Uncle Joe, persuaded him to come visit in Papua New Guinea on his way back to the States.

In March 1976, Larry met Lois. He sent a letter home to his mother saying that he had met a girl. Three months later, he sent another letter saying he was marrying this girl. His mom received the second letter first. On June 26, 1976 my parents were married. Joe Cannon officiated the ceremony.

Of course there are other people involved in the story of how my parents met. There are many more stories that could be told. Joe was an amazing missionary. He loved people. He loved to laugh. He loved to make you laugh. He had faith that could move mountains. And without him, my family might not exist as it does today. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

*Being that I am the great niece, some of my facts may be slightly off. This is the story as I remember it.
**I don't have a copy of a photo with Great Uncle Joe marrying my parents -- if you have access to one, please send it my way.

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